Lung Center, Tala Hospital begin administering AstraZeneca vaccines

All seats were occupied and some were still standing in the waiting area on the first day of the rollout of AstraZeneca’s vaccine at Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital or Tala Hospital in Caloocan City.

That’s even more than a week since the COVID vaccination started here using the Sinovac vaccine.

“First time po ito,” said DJNRMH Medical Center Chief II Dr. Alfonso Famaran.

“‘Yung employees dito na nabakunahan ng Sinovac na nag-volunteer is 647 over 1, 911 (total personnel). This is around 33 percent. The rest heto na nga, for Astrazeneca,” he said.

At the front of the line are health workers aged 60 and over, such as hospital laundry worker Clarita Tactac.

“‘Yung Sinovac, sabi nila hindi pwede raw ang senior. Syempre na-e-expose din po kami sa mga kumot na marurumi. Kaya kailangan po magpabakuna,” said Tactac.

After the senior health workers, the other hospital personnel would follow on a first-come-first-served basis. Among those in line was pediatrician and Dr. Rogelio Bueno Jr.

“May surge na po kasi ng cases, kailangan protected din po kami. Wala namang side effects,” he said.

Lung Center, Tala Hospital begin administering

Another 500 personnel received AstraZeneca vaccine doses from Tala hospital. There are more than 1,000 doses of the Sinovac COVID vaccine left, but it will not be wasted.

“Ibibigay po ‘yun sa mga quick substitution list ng Department of Health,” said Famaran.

The Lung Center of the Philippines also started vaccinating AstraZeneca today. It also received about 500 doses.

“We follow the prioritization as recommended by the DOH, NITAG. ‘Yung directly exposed to COVID cases, among those group, ‘yung mga senior citizens at may co-morbids,” said Dr. Norberto Francisco, spokesperson of LCP.

Of the more than 1.1 million doses of COVID vaccines in the country produced by Sinovac and AstraZeneca, about 60 percent or more than half have already been distributed to hospitals, according to National Task Force against Deputy Chief Implementer Vince Dizon.

He said 117,000 doses of Pfizer from the COVAX Facility of the World Health Organization are expected to arrive in the Philippines next month.